Plants of the UNF Campus

Salix caroliniana - Carolina willow
Family Salicaceae

Description:

 

About 400 species of willow grow around the world, mostly in the northern hemisphere. They range in size from low creepers to tall trees. Aspirin was originally derived from willow bark but it caused some health problems. Later, a synthetic aspirin provided the benefits of willow extract without the worst side effects. The Carolina willow is one of five species native to Florida. Its narrow leaves have white undersides. Tiny flowers are held in catkins. Small, cottony seeds are blown around on the spring breezes. Viceroy butterfly caterpillars feed on the leaves of willows.

 

Location:

See this plant in wet areas around campus, including the nature trails by Lake Oneida.

Size:

Often found in disturbed areas as a shrubby plant but can grow into a tree about 30 feet tall or more.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun to part shade

Water: a moist or irrigated site is necessary, tolerates temporary flooding

Soil: moist, poorly drained soils, no other specific requirements

 

This native plant is easy to grow in sunny, wet areas of northeast Florida. In nature, willows quickly colonize washouts on the banks of streams and rivers. It can spread aggressively in a garden.